SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 27 September 2022, Tuesday |

Explainer: Sticking points at the U.N. climate conference

Representatives from over 200 countries will gather in Glasgow, Scotland, from October 31 to November 12 for climate talks aimed at strengthening the 2015 Paris Agreement’s action to combat global warming.

The actions of nations at this summit will determine whether it is a success, in the wake of extreme weather occurrences throughout the world and a United Nations climate report warning that global warming is on the verge of spinning out of control.

Here are a few of the challenges that must be addressed:

EMISSIONS CUT PLEDGES

Countries agreed six years ago in Paris to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, ideally 1.5 degrees Celsius. To achieve this, emissions must be cut in half by 2030 and net-zero by the middle of the century.

Because the United Nations Conference on Climate Change was postponed last year owing to the coronavirus pandemic, this year is the deadline for countries to make more aggressive pledges to reduce emissions (called nationally determined contributions or NDCs).

According to a United Nations review of new or updated NDCs submitted by the end of July, those 113 countries will reduce their emissions by 12% from 2010 levels by 2030.

But the available NDCs of all 191 parties of the Paris Agreement combined equate to a 16% increase in greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 compared to 2010, it said.

Around 120 countries have so far submitted revised NDCs, but there is a lack of consistency with no common timeframe for realizing pledges. There are also a variety of approaches in the NDCs, making comparability difficult.

Negotiators also need to agree on common timeframes for future emissions cuts.

Major emitters China, India, Saudi Arabia and Turkey – together responsible for around a third of global greenhouse gas emissions – have not yet come forward with strengthened NDCs and need to do so at this conference, known as COP26.

FINANCE

Around 120 countries have so far submitted revised NDCs, but there is a lack of consistency with no common timeframe for realizing pledges. There are also a variety of approaches in the NDCs, making comparability difficult.

Negotiators also need to agree on common timeframes for future emissions cuts.

Major emitters China, India, Saudi Arabia and Turkey – together responsible for around a third of global greenhouse gas emissions – have not yet come forward with strengthened NDCs and need to do so at this conference, known as COP26.

FINANCE

As far back as 2009, developed countries agreed to raise $100 billion a year by 2020 to help developing countries deal with the impacts of climate change.

However, the most recent data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows that in 2019, developed nations’ governments raised $79.6 billion for vulnerable countries, up 2% from $78.3 billion in 2018.

As rich nations are not meeting the $100 billion a year goal, it can break down trust at the climate talks, experts say. And a new finance goal needs to be worked out for 2025 onwards.

LOSS AND DAMAGE

Governments agreed to address the impact of climate change on developing countries but there is no detail about liability or compensation, a bone of contention for many poorer countries.

A platform to enable technical assistance for vulnerable countries was established in 2019 but developing nations want a more robust mechanism to include financing.

FOSSIL FUELS

The UK COP26 president, Alok Sharma, has said he wants this conference to be the one where coal power is consigned to history.

The U.N. has called for phasing out coal by 2030 in OECD countries but environment ministers from the Group of 20 big economies have failed to agree a timeline.

ARTICLE 6

Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which covers the role of carbon markets, has not been resolved since the pact was struck. Progress on it broke down at the last talks in 2019.

The article calls for “robust accounting” to avoid “double counting” of emissions reductions. It also aims to establish a central U.N. mechanism to trade carbon credits from emissions reductions generated from low-carbon projects.

    Source:
  • Reuters